Within two weeks of finishing his college career at the University of Vermont, stay-at-home defenseman Kevan Miller plunged right into the professional environs on an amateur tryout with the P-Bruins last spring. In his third of six AHL games, he even scuffled with Connecticut Whale blueliner Jared Nightingale during a March 27 tilt, his first pro game on home ice.
Providence has chosen to bring the youngster back for more power and punch on the home front in 2011-12.
2010-11 Highlights (With Vermont and the P-Bruins)
• Captained a besieged Vermont team and was one of only two Catamounts to finish the year with a positive plus/minus rating.
• Landed four shots on net, pitched in an assist and posted a plus-2 rating in a 2-2 draw with Merrimack Oct. 23.
• Notched an assist on the Catamounts’ final goal Nov. 6 as they held on to tie Providence College, 3-3.
• Scored his only goal of the season and finished the night with a plus-2 rating as part of a 3-1, Jan. 2 triumph over Harvard.
• Came back for the final weekend of the Hockey East regular season and two postseason games after missing nine ventures with an injury.
• Finished his amateur tryout with a plus-2 rating, recorded entirely within a 5-4 P-Bruins victory over Portland on April 8.
• Scored a college career-low three assists and four points as a senior, which was only partially attributable to his injury.
• Took a five-minute major for boarding in a 3-0 loss at Yale on Dec. 8. The Bulldogs used the protracted power play for a critical insurance strike at 6:00 of the third period.
• Posted a minus-1 rating in each of four consecutive games between Jan. 15 and Jan. 28.
• Was on the ice for the opposition’s go-ahead goal with three minutes left in regulation, then took a cross-checking penalty with 1:31 to spare as New Hampshire eliminated the Catamounts from the Hockey East quarterfinals, 4-3.
On the one hand, with so much established traffic coming back, as well as two sound major-junior products in Ryan Button and Mark Cantin, Miller will have a hard time becoming an AHL regular anytime soon. Barring any impactful twists, expect him to see substantial time with the Reading Royals.
On the other hand, with his build (6-foot-2, 208 pounds) and his propensity to use it so assertively, Miller should make formidable competition with Marvin Degnon, Alain Goulet and Zach McKelvie for call-ups when and if the P-Bruins need reinforcement on their blue line.